Merrill goes from house to house as he freestyles across each swimming pool along the way. The youthful feeling of this morning is now so distant that it passes out of his memory. GradeSaver, 20 May 2016 Web. However, the yellow paper and the swimmer both show gradual loss of reality as the characters oppress their problems while they strive to fit in with the norms of society. Life in suburbia is repetitive in most scenarios, and humans can easily get lost in the monotonous adventure known aslife. Old acquaintances encountered by Neddy mention misfortune and money troubles which he does not remember hearing about, and he is patently unwelcome at several houses belonging to owners of a lower social class. Additionally, there is a certain level superficial savagery the individuals of this community have in regards to one another primarily their interaction with the people who have fallen in their social standing.
Cheever enlisted in the Army on May 7, 1942. It goes through four seasons, giving us the image of a complete process, and symbolizing the cycle of life. Fear can take control over the body and make the adrenalin run faster, overshadowing the common sense and draw the person into follow their lust. As soon as the hostess of the party, Enid Bunker, saw him, she began to scream. Finally, he reaches his house but wonders why it's dark. The operation removed his navel, or belly button, and with it the reminder of the umbilical cord that once attached him to his mother.
Along his path, he encounters the comfortable trappings of high society, but no genuine friends. He seems to be young, energetic, and lives a life filled with ease and comfort. He began an affair with actress in the late 1960s. In 1961 Cheever had moved to a stately, stone-ended farmhouse in Ossining, on the east bank of the. The woman has a fear for the lake and it is so strong that it is preventing her from going for a swim. Cheever's drinking soon became suicidal and, in March 1975, his brother Fred, now virtually indigent, but sober after his own lifelong bout with alcoholism, drove John back to Ossining. These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community.
Despite the ever-present afternoon light, it becomes unclear how much time has passed. On April 27, 1982, six weeks before his death, Cheever was awarded the National Medal for Literature by the. This is exemplified within the story when Ned finds himself at his mistress' house and at the very end when he himself finally makes it home. The irony of that situation was in the fact that nobody was rather pleased to see him there. But sometimes fear can also be what drives us to cross our own boundary and do what we long to do.
Next he goes to the Recreational Center in the village of Lancaster and swims the pool, disgusted by the chlorine water. Well-maintained concrete ponds they are, to be sure, but their existence as symbol far outweighs any more prosaic concerns a reader may have about the inherent realism in a story about some guy making his way one pool at a time. John Cheever was born in 1912 to a middle-class family, although his family fell into financial straits during the Great Depression. What was once a heroic swim along a river is now just an obligation to get in the pool so he can say he did. He then sees through the window that the house is empty.
His father was a prosperous shoe salesman, and Cheever spent much of his childhood in a large , at 123 Winthrop Avenue, in the then-genteel suburb of. He seems puzzled, because he has no recollection of these events. While Neddy is drawn in ways to parallel ancient Greek legends—although clearly a more immature and childish version as indicated by his name—his world is one dominated by cocktail parties, petty adulteries, stock market tips and an overarching and utterly repugnant social acceptance of misogyny as a part of the natural order. His fiction is mostly set in the of , the suburbs, old villages based on various towns around , where he was born, and Italy, especially. The antagonist Johnny Friendly requires complete loyalty from not only the longshoremen but also his henchmen, in order to maintain his power in the waterfront community, he does not allow any betrayal or even the idea of trying to testify against the mob run union is restricted. The mention of his fourth or fifth drink shows just how much artificial support Neddy needs for his journey, and this first instance of him drinking alone makes the reader wonder if drinking is more than just a social pleasure for him.
And we are all Ned Merrill. After his swim, the storm takes full force and he stops for shelter at the gazebo. He is surprised to find the house locked and in darkness. Ned is surprised because she was very upset when he broke it off with her. Neddy experiences some undefined misfortune that pushes him down in the social ranks, and in his world, the snubbing by a bartender is a significant offense. Benjamin Cheever New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988 , p.
Throughout the story as Ned travels from pool to pool, more and more is revealed about him by his neighbors, things that Ned had seemingly forgotten or chosen to ignore. Neddy takes off his trunks as well when he goes to swim their pool. Repression of Reality and Hopelessness Ned seems to live in a world of denial and his need to avoid painful memories, details, and occurrences is reflected in his confused state when he hears certain facts. I really had no idea he was actually psychologically in denial so bad that he doesn't even remember what happens to his family and his house. Despite his disastrous family life, he was deeply invested in maintaining an image of himself as a successful family man, which can be seen in many of his characters. The flags in Ossining were lowered to half staff for 10 days after Cheever's death.